Stef tagged me in her 25 things post – I did this on facebook a few months ago and it was fun 🙂 this is going to be a new version, I won’t just copy and paste the facebook one!
1. My real name is Kathleen. The only people who have ever called me that were supply teachers at school. My mum wanted to call me Helen but dad got to the registry office first!
2. As you might guess from the name, I am half Irish (three eighths if you want to be specific!). I have never been to Ireland but it’s top of the list of places to visit once I am healthy/brave enough for some more solo travelling.
3. I am the oldest of five siblings. Until I was 17 all seven of us lived in a three bedroomed house, and I shared with both of my sisters. It was quite a challenge studying for my GCSEs with a six year old in the bed next to me!
4. Over the years my family have owned five dogs, nine cats, two rabbits, six guinea pigs, four hamsters (I think) and…numerous goldfish. Despite this, when I was seven years old I had an imaginary dog called Timmy instead of the traditional imaginary friend. I think I had been reading too many Famous Five books!
5. On the subject of suggestibility, when I was 10 I spent a whole summer watching Sweet Valley High. It was my first introduction to American TV other than cartoons, and I got a bit wide eyed over it all – I even started trying to speak with a Californian accent, until my mum asked me if I had a sore throat.
6. I have been vegetarian since I was nine years old and saw a programme on the meat industry. None of my family or friends were vegetarian at the time and I didn’t meet my first real life veggie until I started college. This is what I get for living in the middle of nowhere 😛 but these days, of course, I am armed to the teeth with recipes books, internet forums and veggie blog lists. Yay!
7. I have started and dropped out of three degrees: psychology at Cardiff university, occupational therapy at Bournemouth and physics at York. I learnt something entirely unrelated to academia at each.
8. At Cardiff I learnt that choosing a university for reputation rather than suitability to me was a really bad idea, and generally speaking I should always go with my gut feelings about something rather than doing what I think I *should*.
9. At Bournemouth I learnt that I am acceptable. This was the place where I made friends and started to socialise outside of class for the first time in my whole life. People accepted me for me, not ‘despite’ my scars from self harm or my openness about my history or my strange moods some days – I was one of them. This is what I aspire to again. I am so grateful that I know that it’s possible.
10. And at York I learnt that the safety and control that eating disorders promise is a huge lie, and I found the strength to ask for help and begin recovery for myself, without being forced into it.
11. Brevity is not one of my strong points 😛 I had to force myself to separate numbers 7-10 because it was originally one point! I even find myself wanting to write a whole paragraph about my inability to stop sentences turning into paragraphs. (must…resist…rambling…argh)
12. I have played the recorder since I was nine years old. When we started learning at school I begged my mum to buy me my own recorder, took the book home one weekend and taught myself the whole thing. I then insisted on getting a treble recorder despite it being tuned to F rather than the C of the descant, and muscled in on the group of ‘promising students’ picked for further lessons, before branching out into the tenor and sopranino recorders as well. I still have no idea why I was so stubborn about recorders but it paid off, when I was 16 I won all nine recorder classes for my age group at the local music festival. I promptly retired from public performance 😛 but I still get them out to play and write music for sometimes.
13. The town I grew up in was a seaside tourist resort. My skin is so pale and freckly that I only have to look at the sun to burn and I don’t like crowds anyway, so I took to walking down to the beach on winter weekend mornings. My mum thought this was weird and worried about my sanity, but I found the noise and drama of the stormy sea really relaxing and peaceful (probably because it was louder than my head).
14. I currently live three miles from the nearest town, shop, bus or train station, pub, church or even streetlamp. This is wonderful when I get my telescope out (I can see the band of the Milky Way from my garden!) but not so much given that I don’t have my own car yet.
15. I am 25 this year and no closer to knowing what I want to do with my life than when I was at school. I haven’t worked since I was 18 so have no experiences or references, and am rather worried that I’m unemployable. I think I may have to employ myself. This could be arranged. It might take a while though.
16. I was terrible at P.E. at school. It didn’t matter if it was team sports or solo stuff like swimming or running, I sucked at everything. Then when I was 15 I took up running and gave my teachers the shock of their lives by turning up in the first 25 or so out of the three hundred kids in my year in the next cross country session. I will never be Paula Radcliffe but I can live with that!
17. I’m typing this on a pink Dell laptop. I am not a pink kind of person usually and I the only other pink thing I own is a t-shirt with characters from Rainbow on it, but I thought the laptop was funky 😛
18. I own every episode and both the movies of The X Files. When I was 14 I wanted to be Scully. I knew that Gillian Anderson had anorexia in her teens and I adored her character for being so little and vulnerable looking but physically and mentally strong at the same time. I also wished I had someone as devoted to me as Mulder was to her. For Christmas when I was 15 I begged my mum for a long black coat like Scully wore a lot in season four. I then wore it to death so it had to become blankets for one of the rabbits!
19. My phobia of being sick is well publicised, but I am also phobic of…worms. Seriously. This stems from making a wormery at playschool at the age of three – it was my job to bring in some worms, but when I sat down to buckle my shoe up I accidentally sat on the bag my mum had put them in. I was devastated at the idea of having squashed them all, and couldn’t bear the sight of them after that. My mum told me years later that she had taken them back out into the garden on the off chance that they weren’t squashed and found that 99% of them were fine. She could have told me that then!
20. Big families run in my family – I am the oldest of five, my mum is the youngest of five, her siblings have five or six children each (except the oldest, who bucked the trend at three) and several of them now have four or five children of their own. My gran was another oldest of five and one of my uncles was one of 13! My dad is at the opposite end of the spectrum, and only has one living relative.
21. My hair is naturally brown but has been red and green in the past (not at the same time 😛 ). It is curly when it is long but straight when it is short, which is completely the wrong way round. Despite studying astrophysics I am quite proud of my hair for seeming to defy the laws of physics.
22. My favourite number is 22. I was born on the 22nd September, my parents met on the 22nd August and married on the 22nd October when mum was 22 (not all in the same year!). Our first house was number 22 as well. My 22nd year was one of the worst of my life (joint first with my 18th) but I still think that things would have been worse if I hadn’t been 22 😛
23. I have been in one long term relationship. It lasted four years and I thought we would be together for all of our lives for most of that. It didn’t work out for a lot of reasons, but I am grateful to the boy for some of the best times of my life, and for showing me that I am not unloveable. Also that sex is fun. Ahem.
24. I have been to many places in Europe including France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Germany (and driven through six or seven more countries on our way) but never left the continent. I have designs on Peru and New Zealand though!
25. By my 25th birthday in September I will be at a healthy weight, I will have a car and the beginnings of a social life, I will be studying for my degree again via distance learning and at least thinking about moving out of my parents house into a flat in the nearest big town. You can hold me to that 🙂
Ellie (quelle suprise 😛 )
I don’t thiiink any of you have done it yet, but apologies if you have!